Bath through Geoff’s lens

Before the flood prevention scheme, it was not unusual for Southgate Street to be flooded by the River Avon which flowed as far out the street to the junction with Lower Borough Walls and into the cellars of Woolworths and other higher up shops! Photo: Geoff Ellis

Geoff Ellis started his career as a press photographer in Bath in the 1950s and began a journey that would take him all the way to Fleet Street.

He’s back in town on Tuesday, May 17th to talk about his days in the city – and elsewhere – and promote a book that showcases his professional life and will be full of memories for many local people.

He’ll be at the Dorothy House Bookshop in Broad Street from 6.30 pm – one of the book events amongst many others in this year’s Bath Festival.

Cover of Book
Guardian Subs office, Farringdon Street London.

The Bath floods, royal visits, Roman Rendezvous, and pop and movie stars, all feature in its pages. Along with a picture history of Bath jazz and some very human moments captured on film.

Photographer Geoff Ellis, then and now with his Speed Graphic camera. 

Monty Sunshine, Pat Halcox and Chris Barber, at a Jazz Promenade in the Regency Ballroom
. Photo: Geoff Ellis

Geoff, who now lives in Worthing, has always been a jazz enthusiast there is much photo coverage of the Jazz and pop scene. From local jazz to Cilla Black via Duke Ellington and Acker Bilk etc. 

Cilla Black
Monday Night, Bath Pavilion Photo: Geoff Ellis

Moving on to greater things, his time on the Belfast Telegraph at the time of the troubles is covered – followed by his career on the Guardian, Times, Now Magazine and PR. 

HM The Queen Mother arrives at Bath Spa on her way to Badminton c1964 Photo: Geoff Ellis

The large-format book, £18.50, is already on sale exclusively at the Dorothy House, Broad Street bookshop as Geoff wanted to help a local charity.

Claire Bloom, Richard Johnson, and Yolande Donian in the Christmas / New Year dance scene in Bath Pump Room during the filming of ‘80,000 Subjects’ – a feature film set in Bath about a smallpox outbreak and the tracing of contacts. Photo Geoff Ellis

I will be going along to grab an interview with him.

Bath’s most commercially successful Traditional Jazz Band, The Pearce Cadwallader Stompers pose for a publicity shot for the Bath Chronicle to publicise the Jameano, bringing jazz to the people, during the Bath Festival.  The band played at different outside venues each night of the festival.  Monday 5th June 1961. Photo: Geoff Ellis.

Details of the book can be found at 


  1. Stuart, I expect you’ve already seen this but just in case…

    I think Bath had quite a vibrant jazz scene in the fifties – a lot of my parents’ friends (think duffel coats, varsity scarves, Gauloises, slacks, and striped jumpers) were trad or Brit Bop fans. Someone should document before it’s too late.

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